Melbourne Design Week 2019 – 6 Must-Sees


This year’s Melbourne Design Week offers a thought-provoking mix of exhibitions, talks and tours. Take a peek…


2019’s Melbourne Design Week features more than 200 exhibitions, talks, tours, films and workshops, with events across town and in neighbouring city Geelong. Running from 14 to 24 March, Melbourne’s largest festival programme to date celebrates both local and international talent, with the core theme of ‘Design Experiments’ – asking how design can shape the future. A mix of ticketed and free activities embrace diverse challenges from the environment to social issues and materials. This year’s festival wraps up on Sunday, but many of the inspiring shows continue beyond the weekend. Here are six of our top FizzPicks…

Ground Level/Foyer, NGV Australia, Federation Square
Until 28 July (10am-5pm, free)

Visitors are invited to peek through five portals within timber and steel structure ‘Somewhere Other’, a compact, interactive experience by Melbourne practice John Wardle Architects. At NGV Australia until late July, this intriguing installation was first shown as part of 2018’s 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale (pictured, top and above). Each of the wooden volumes, voids and apertures in its interconnected series frames views of the studio’s projects, the Australian landscape or the craft of collaborators including artist Natasha Johns-Messenger and filmmakers Coco and Maximilian.


TDF Gallery, 14 Little Oxford Street, Collingwood
Until 24 March (11am-5pm, free)

We’re big fans of Artedomus’s ‘New Volumes’ collection, which showcases solid marble homewares by eight Australian designers. This Collingwood exhibition, curated by interior designer Fiona Lynch and designer Thomas Coward, represents the range in an installation that follows the journey of this sculptural material from the ‘ground to the house’, contrasted with a series of chunky marble plinths.


Modern Times, 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

Presented by Fitzroy interiors store Modern Times, group exhibition ‘Material Thought’ explores material through the work of innovative Australian designers. On show are furniture, lighting and objects by nine top talents, including Henry Wilson (‘Stone Surface Sconce’, in Calacatta Marble, above), Coco Flip and Christopher Boots, all illuminating themes of design experimentation and sustainability.

Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Swanston Street
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

Fans of modernism will enjoy exhibition ‘Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design’, a homage to the acclaimed Australian talent. The first major survey of Meadmore’s industrial design practice, it explores the inspirations that shaped the renowned sculptor’s early career as a designer. Part of a new wave of Australian design in the Fifties and Sixties, Meadmore championed streamlined forms, fresh materials and new manufacturing processes. His furniture and lighting appeared in the houses of iconic architect Robin Boyd, with well known designs such as his 1951 corded dining chair on view at the Ian Potter Museum of Art.


Compound Interest, 15-25 Keele Street, Collingwood
Until 24 March (11am-5pm, free)

Presented by Friends & Associates, ‘Welcome to Wasteland’ shares the work of cutting-edge local talents involved with sustainable design. Featuring architects, industrial designers, furniture makers and researchers, the show explores the potential of waste materials recycled into fresh, eco-friendly products. Typically innovative is Vert Design’s ‘HuskeeCup’ made from coffee husk waste, their collaboration with Spark & Burnish to craft ‘Marine Debris Bakelite Door Knobs’, and Maddison Ryder’s use of discarded Iceberg lettuce to form ‘Lettuce Eat’ disposable plates. Other materials in the mix include waste glass, ceramic, plastic, oyster shells, rubber bands, paper pulp, denim jeans, pigs’ blood and even golf balls!


7 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

A curatorial showcase of experimental design, fine art and objects, interior designer Fiona Lynch’s new permanent gallery Work Shop aims to celebrate work by Australian and international designers and artists, as well as doubling as a testing ground for her own studio’s practice. For Melbourne Design Week, the debut show curates a selection of pieces examining the tension between resolved and incomplete elements, including ceramics by Olivia Walker (black porcelain collapsed vessel, above), burnt wood bowls by Makiko Ryujin, paintings by Jiaxin Nong and lighting design by Mary Wallis.
Melbourne Design Week 2019 runs until Sunday 24 March at venues across the city and Geelong

Dyslexic Design

A powerful exhibition at London's designjunction explores the link between dyslexia and creativity…


Thought-provoking exhibition ‘Dyslexic Design’, at Kings Cross’s designjunction event, explores the connection between dyslexia and creativity. Showcasing work by 10 dyslexic designers, including established and emerging names, the show encourages us to rethink this so-called disability. Yes, it’s a challenge, but can it also be a gift?

TOP: Handblown borosilicate glass 'Egg' decanter with cork details by Sebastian Bergne
ABOVE: Steam-bent wood 'No 1 Pendant' light by Tom Raffield; crystal 'Gauge' vase by Jim Rokos; 'Markets Royale 1816/2014' limited-edition archival giclée print by Kristjana S Williams

Defined as ‘a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling’, dyslexia affects 10 per cent of the UK population, four per cent severely. The project, in support of the British Dyslexia Association, is one close to designjunction show director Deborah Spencer’s heart. ‘I had dyslexia growing up which led me down the path of art and design. In many ways dyslexia defined me as a person.’

ABOVE'Knot' lamp by Vitamin; 'Surface' table by Terence Woodgate (with John Barnard); 'Hunter Jacket: Gorilla' jacket by Rohan Chhabra, which transforms into the shape of a gorilla

Curated by designer Jim Rokos as part of the London Design Festival, the five-day exhibition aims to disrupt perceptions of dyslexia, highlighting its close ties with design creativity, a positive spin on what can often be a stigmatised condition. Talented designers on board represent diverse disciplines, from industrial and product design to illustration, fashion, fine art, architecture and craft, including Terence Woodgate, Sebastian Bergne, Vitamin, Kristjana S Williams, Tom Raffield, Tina Crawford (aka Tobyboo), Rohan Chhabra, Bethan Laura Wood and Rokos himself. On show are furniture, tableware, lighting, art works, accessories and apparel, all enriched with unexpected perspectives.

‘It is my belief that I am able to design the way I do because of my dyslexia and not despite it,’ says Rokos. ‘I also firmly believe that other dyslexic designers have idiosyncratic styles because of their dyslexia.’ Environmental designer Ab Rogers, who devised the exhibition set, adds, ‘At times dyslexia can be frustrating for those who have it, and those who live with it second-hand, but it should still be celebrated as an asset, not commiserated as a fault.’

ABOVE: Designjunction show director Deborah Spencer; 'Dyslexic Design' exhibition designer Ab Rogers, and founder/curator Jim Rokos

Clearly, the show demonstrates that dyslexia needn’t hold you back in the creative industries, and in fact that seeing things slightly differently, through the lens of a dyslexic mind, could even prove an advantage. It examines the links between dyslexia and lateral, visual and three-dimensional thinking, while also acknowledging the challenges of working with a less common brain structure.

Examples of such innovative lateral thinking include embroidery artist Tina Crawford's detailed thread-drawn illustrations crafted using a sewing machine; jewellery designer Sari Råthel's fingertip rings; and Rohan Chhabra's endangered species series of hunting jackets that fold into a gorilla, elephant, rhino, antelope or tiger.

Don’t miss the panel discussion on ‘How to be Creative and Successful when you are Dyslexic’ (5pm-6pm, Saturday 24 September, The Gallery Room, Kings Place, 90 York Way, N1), bringing together many of the designers involved. Book your spot here. Even the typographic design of the exhibition's title tells a story; its font has been designed by Daniel Britton to take longer for a non-dyslexic person to read, mirroring the frustrations of dyslexia. Now that's creative...

Dyslexic Design is at designjunction from 22-25 September 2016 as part of London Design Festival. Find it at Dyslexic House, No H9 (Fast East Side), Granary Square, King's Cross, N1